Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Dirt Wizard - Vol. 1 EP (2017)

With a name like Dirt Wizard I was expecting the band's first EP to sound like a total fucking bucket of gritty fuzz, but to my surprise it wasn't like that at all - in fact "Vol. 1" constantly defies your expectations to blindside you with new and interesting tunes at every turn. It kicks off with "Sacred Flame" a deceptively smooth stoner-doom track whose clean vocal melody will give you goose bumps with the evil that it evokes. About 6 minutes in the organ starts up and you're taken to a dark cathedral as a choir of voices sings "holy holy holy" in a way that will make your hair stand on end. The song had me hooked and as it ended I thought I had a good idea of what I was in for next - I was wrong again. The second track "Summoning Sickness" maintains the instrumental tone of the first song, but this is more of a moody alternative rock song than the occult inspired doom showcased originally. Some light synth work and guitar strains also add to the song to give it a vaguely post-rock feel. So there's only two tracks listed on Bandcamp - that's the end, right? Nope! Dirt Wizard keeps the surprise train rolling and if you download Vol. 1 you get the bonus track "Arch-vile". It's labeled as "a demo of a demo" but presumably that's just to lower your expectations and keep you guessing because it certainly doesn't feel like an early demo. It starts out with some heavy metal urgency and is faster than either of the songs that came before it. Stylistically it mixes all of the elements from the previous songs as stoner-doom, alternative rock, post-rock wisps, and a touch of fresh new metal mingle to form one nefarious anthem before ending on a dramatic cinematic score. Dirt Wizard definitely keeps you on your toes and I mean that in a good way - always throwing something new at you to keep things interesting. Vol. 1 has some good tunes for sure. I recommend the experience! -Brandon

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